And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Rangers 3: Walkoff homer for Ichiro? Well shut my mouth. Wait, what? Well jeez, Brian, it’s just an expression. You don’t have to agree so emphatically and profanely.

Angels 14, Tigers 8: Well that fifth inning got out of a hand in a hurry. Rick Porcello was beaten around for seven runs on ten hits and his relief Darin Downs didn’t fare much better. J.B. Shuck drove in four. Even Josh Hamilton had a good game, going 3 for 5.

Orioles 6, Indians 3: The O’s snapped a four-game losing streak. Chris Davis hit his 28th homer, which tied it up in the seventh and Alexi Casilla’s three-run homer put Baltimore ahead in the eighth.

Nationals 7, Diamondbacks 5: The Nats jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the fifth inning and then held on, giving Gio Gonzalez his first win since May 5. From the AP gamer:

[Gonzalez] said pitching with the big lead for a change didn’t alter his approach.

“No, you still have to go out there and attack,” Gonzalez said. “The team gives you a big lead like that you want to get them back in there, especially when they’re swinging it real hot.”

Jack Morris just shakes his head.

Marlins 4, Twins 2: The Fish have won four of five. Jose Fernandez allowed one run and four hits in five innings and Marcell Ozuna drove in a pair. It sometimes seems like there’s no future in Miami, but those two are part of one.

Brewers 9, Cubs 3: Two homers for Rickie Weeks, who has a nine-game hitting streak in which he’s 14-for-32 with four homers and seven RBI. Milwuakee has beat the Cubs nine straight times at Miller Park and 19 of 21 times overall.

Dodgers 6, Giants 5: Matt Kemp comes back from the DL. While he only went 1 for 4 at the plate he ended the game with a running, sliding, over the shoulder catch that, one hopes, put to rest any concern about his hamstring. If the Dodgers are going to climb back in the race a healthy and productive Kemp has to be a part of that.

Red Sox 11, Rockies 4: It was 7-1 after the third inning so this one wasn’t exactly suspenseful. Dustin Pedroia drove in four runs on three hits and the Sox tallied 20 safeties in all. BTW: people used to say “safeties” more often as a synonym for hits, but no one does it anymore. I don’t want it to come back because I find it annoying, but I did feel like it was worth pointing this out.

Phillies 6, Padres 2: A homer — his 20th — and four RBI for Domonic Brown. Jason Marquis loses his first game since April 22nd. But he does lead the league in walks and he walked five Phillies in four and a third.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 1: Matt Moore wins his tenth after striking out 11 in six innings. Walked six too, but worked around it. Wil Myers drove in a run. He has eight RBI in nine games since being called up.

White Sox 5, Mets 4: Chris Sale struck out 13 in eight innings and left with a lead but didn’t get the win because he didn’t want it bad enough or something. Or maybe because Addison Reed — who vultured the win —  blew the save with help from a Gordon Beckham error. Alexei Ramirez mooted it all with a walkoff single.

Braves 4, Royals 3: Jason Heyward’s seventh inning homer broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Braves the win. Earlier he hit a two-run double. Even though, in recent years, a lot of Braves have found their way to the Royals, it was the Braves’ first ever trip to Kansas City.

Cardinals 13, Astros 5: Mike Matheny jumbled up the lineup and the Cardinals offense woke up. Correlation? Yes. Causation? I dunno. But Allen Craig went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and Matt Carpenter drove in three of his own after clearing the bases with a triple.

Athletics 7, Reds 3: The fact that I looked at this score and first thought “1972 World Series rematch” instead of “1990 World Series rematch” makes me wonder how my brain works. Though admittedly I have the worst memory of the 1990 World Series than any World Series of my teenage years. I was busy during the week of that Series rehearsing some play I was in in which I got to kiss the amazingly attractive girl who played the female lead and, wouldn’t you know it, I kept needing to rehearse that scene a lot because I couldn’t get it right. Or at least that was my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, the A’s pounded Bronson Arroyo.

Pirates 9, Mariners 4: Five homers for the Buccos. Starling Marte had two of them plus a triple. When people ask me, as the have an awful lot lately, if the Pirates are going to collapse like they did the past couple of years I’ve been saying no. Why? For the simple reason that I often write other offensive contributors’ names in the Pirates recaps besides Andrew McCutchen. It’s a team this year. Not one star and a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Joe Morgan is asking Hall of Fame voters to keep PED users out

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Hall of Famer Joe Morgan has never equivocated on his belief that users of performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Whenever he has been interviewed on the subject he has been steadfast in his stance that PED users are not worthy of induction.

This week he has taken a further step: he has sent a letter to all of the Hall of Fame voters, asking them to keep PED users out.

In his letter — the entirety of which you can read over at Joe Posnanski’s blog — Morgan says “if steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.” By “we,” he’s clearly referring to Hall of Fame members. While he does not name any player he would like to see voters keep out, he spends a lot of time talking about how PEDs are bad for baseball, PED users cheated the game and how he and many other Hall of Famers do not want to see them elected. He invokes “youngsters” and refers to the Hall of Fame as “special” and speaks to the “sanctity” of election. It’s the moral argument against PED use we’ve been hearing for a goof 15 years or so.

It’s also hopelessly naive and comes far too late in the game to be a useful plea.

As we’ve noted many, many times, there are already PED users in the Hall of Fame. Amphetamine users to be sure, but even if you want to give them a pass, there are steroid and/or HGH users too. In case you forgot about that, allow me to remind you about the time Hall of Fame voter Thomas Boswell appeared in Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary update “The Tenth Inning” and explicitly said that he personally witnessed a current Hall of Famer drink a PED-laden shake:

“There was another player now in the Hall of Fame who literally stood with me and mixed something and I said “What’s that?” and he said “it’s a Jose Canseco milkshake”. And that year that Hall of Famer hit more home runs than ever hit any other year. So it wasn’t just Canseco, and so one of the reasons that I thought that it was an important subject was that it was spreading. It was already spreading by 1988.”

Boswell tends to keep pretty silent about that come Hall of Fame voting time in December, but he has never backed off the claim either.

Less reliable, but still never refuted, were the stories of Patty Blyleven, former wife of Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, who said that she knows of a Hall of Famer who took PEDs as well, and who continues to nonetheless publicly rail against PED use. There are likewise other Hall of Famers of whom baseball writers are strongly convinced — or know for a fact — took PEDs but about whom they’ve never reported because no one would go on the record about it or corroborate it in a way that satisfies prevailing journalistic standards. Go ask a BBWAA member about why it took Jeff Bagwell so long to get into the Hall of Fame. Or simply go back and read what they said about him a few years ago.

Going beyond those cases are the cases of a host of players — players who have been on the ballot for years —  about which we’ll never, ever know. Do we know for sure that any of the guys currently on the ballot who played before drug testing never took PEDs? Of course not. In light of that all Morgan can ask is for voters to keep players of an entire era out. Which is a completely unreasonable and unfair request.

In the absence of guidance from the Hall of Fame or Major League Baseball, BBWAA voters were somewhat inconsistent with alleged PED users for a time, but they’re beginning to coalesce around a set of rough standards:

  • If you tested positive for PEDs or were disciplined for PEDs after the testing program was fully online like Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro did, you’re not getting in. Figure Alex Rodriguez will fall in this group one day too;
  • If you were strongly and convincingly associated with PEDs in the pre-testing era like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the road you have to go down is going to be pretty bumpy, but you may, possibly, get in one day if you were an overwhelmingly great player;
  • If you were seen as one-dimensional like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa and either admitted to PED use or were suspected of it, welp, sorry. We’ll leave why Sosa is suspected of it to another post.

All of this is will likely change slightly over time. Bonds and Clemens have recently gotten over the 50% voting threshold and could gain some steam with the voters. Alex Rodriguez was good enough and his post-career image rehabilitation has been such that he may get more support than most post-testing PED guys one day. Maybe McGwire and Sosa will get new looks down the road by some iteration of the Veteran’s Committee. After that, there aren’t a lot of guys who are seriously in the Hall of Fame discussion with credible PED claims against them.

Which is to say that history is sorting itself out, for better or for worse. Sorting itself out in a way that renders Morgan’s views on the matter — whether you consider them well-founded or otherwise — too little, too late and, given what we know and do not know about PED users, rather useless.